Automatic updates sound like a great idea in theory, but having a newer driver install itself behind your back, cause a problem and force you to troubleshoot for a few hours is no fun at all. Fortunately in Windows, it’s possible to tell the operating system to apply platform patches only and leave the driver updates to you.
This tweak applies to all recent versions of Windows — 7, 8 and 10 — and allows you to control exactly how Windows deals with new drivers it finds via Windows Update. As gHacks’ Martin Brinkmann explains, it’s as easy as bringing up the “System” window by right-clicking on the Computer desktop icon and selecting “Properties”, navigating to “Control PanelAll Control Panel ItemsSystem” (Windows 7) or typing
sysdm.cpl into the Start Menu text box.
Once opened, click “Advanced system settings” on the left, go to the “Hardware” tab and press the “Device Installation Settings” button. You’ll then see the configuration dialog (the window that appears on the far right in the lead image of this post).
Now you can just pick the option that suits your needs — in my case, I selected “Never install driver software from Windows Update.”
Of course, you’re free to go the other way entirely and leave driver updates to Windows, but when your printer suddenly stops working, don’t say I didn’t warn you!*
*60 per cent of the time, it works every time.